Those of you who have followed this site or my writings on Fan Fest or Fandomize, know that I’m no stranger to writing reviews. Over the last four or five years, I’ve written enough reviews on tv shows or movies to fill a small room dedicated to housing reviews. Sure, no one buys a house intending to own a room for reviews but sometimes it just happens. Kind of like a junk draw. It started off as a draw for wine and can openers but now every pen you’ve stolen from a hotel lives there. These things just happen and while this is a strange analogy, I just want to paint the picture that I’ve written a whole bunch of reviews. Point conveyed? Excellent, now let’s move on.
Honestly, when I know of things that are coming out that have me riding aboard the hype train one of my first thoughts is, “I can’t wait to review this”. It’s a mindset that I’ve used to write reviews for things like Stranger Things, Better Call Saul, and most things Marvel especially when it came down to Endgame. Then there are things that I want to write reviews for but the words never formulate. For whatever reason, I can’t find my thread into the review and things I intended on covering fall by the wayside. It bums me out but the good thing about pop culture is there is always something new to get excited about. Then the process starts all over again.
When it came down to the second season of the Umbrella Academy, I had all intentions of writing a review on the show. I was excited. The first season was such a refreshing surprise that kind of took me off guard. Now I was prepared. I was going to write a review on the show and try and get those of you who don’t watch excited about it. Draw you in. Because this is Netflix’s diamond in the rough. The Umbrella Academy is a gem and while it may not be a critical darling like shows like BoJack Horseman or even Stranger Things, it’s one of my favorite shows on the entire platform. I would actually probably rank it in my Top Three, next to the above-referenced series.
Here’s the thing, when my wife and I concluded the second season on Monday, I had an immediate thought. There was no way I could objectively review this show. I love it too damn much. I’m literally gushing anytime I get to talk about it. I’m swooning when I see the cast and crew post things on social media. I’m all in on The Umbrella Academy and while that sometimes results in great writing, I wasn’t sure how well it would translate. Essentially you would have been looking at over a thousand words of me screaming “oh my god and this happened and that and this again. Ahhhhhhhh”. Who really wants to read a column like that?
Instead of letting this second season of The Umbrella Academy fall by the wayside, something my heart couldn’t possibly handle, I came up with a pretty fantastic solution. I need to talk about this show. Like I’m bursting at the seams and jumping up and down to tell you how amazing the Hargreeves are and why you should be spending time with them. But if I wasn’t going to write a review then how would all this gushing emotion come to your eyeholes? Good question dear reader. How about a list. A list that singles out my favorite moments of the second season. A list that can center on specific moments or general moments. It’s my list it can do whatever I want it to do.
Now, before you start reading said list be warned, THERE ARE MASSIVE SEASON TWO SPOILERS AHEAD. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
With that out of the way, I present to you, the I Am Geek Top Twenty Moments of Season Two of The Umbrella Academy:
The Opening- The breakdown of all the Hargreeves arriving into 1960s Texas was excellently crafted and a great introduction to the time travel shenanigans of the season. Come on, Diego with the superhero landing out of the wormhole? Luthor and the crazy guy screaming Allison’s name in the rain? Outstanding. But it was Five’s arrival into yet another apocalypse that not only set the tone for the season but stole the show. Getting to see the Academy work in sync battling the commies was a really fun spectacle that perfectly used Sinatra’s “My Way” as a backdrop. Within the first ten minutes, we got to see all our favorite characters, like we’ve never seen them before and knew the direction of the entire season. That’s how you kick off a season!
Reunions- Dispersing the family throughout Texas in different time periods was a wonderful technique. It allowed characters like Allison, Klaus, and Luthor to establish ties to their new time period and created some real emotional consequences to the Hargreeves being in the ‘60s. They were no longer displaced. They had actual lives here. Kind of like Klaus’s time travel in season one. These characters had some serious bonds to this new time period and added depth and stakes to the season arc of preventing the apocalypse. It also allowed for some pretty tremendous and emotional, reunions. Whether it was Allison rushing into the pool to hug Klaus, two characters who didn’t share a lot of screen time in season one or perhaps Luther apologizing for the way Vanya was treated as a child instead of killing her or my personal favorite, Ben taking over Klaus’s body and actually getting to speak to Diego. The reunions in the second season provided the emotional backbone to the season. As dysfunctional as they are, the Hargreeves are still a family and their time apart ultimately brings them together.
A.J. Carmichael- Guys, it’s a talking fish inside a fishbowl as this guy’s head. There was not nearly enjoy A.J. for my liking. I want a spinoff. I want a Funko pop. I want an endless gif watching a fish trying to inhale cigarette smoke. I want all the A.J.
Social Relevance- I was not prepared for how socially relevant and poignant this second season would be. Putting Allison in the middle of the Civil Rights movement was heavy and eye-opening. Emmy Raver-Lampman was asked to do some heavy lifting and she delivered in spades with an emotional performance that shouldn’t go overlooked. And while this was filmed before our current environment, I couldn’t help but feel that it was speaking volumes to today’s climate. Not to mention the progressive presentation of the LBGTQ movement. Vanya’s relationship with Sissy really puts the current struggle for acceptance in a vacuum while ultimately saying “love is love and who cares”. Yes, this is a show with a talking fish, super-powered humans, and time travel but it’s also a show that isn’t afraid to take a stand and fight for what’s right. Underneath all the weird is a progressive series who’s putting a light on important social issues and I openly applaud them for it.
Klaus’s Use of Song Lyrics- Klaus could be considered by many to be the fan-favorite of the series. Robert Sheehan’s performance is so spectacular. One moment it’s ridiculously over the top and the very next you find yourself choked up with the raw emotion that Klaus is presenting. Klaus could be considered to be a comedic character on a surface level but there is true depth here and he has become a conduit for the show to explore some of the major topics mentioned above. With that being said, Klaus’s use of song lyrics with his cult was phenomenal. Whether it was naming them Destiny’s Children or quoting TLC’s “Waterfalls” or Gloryia Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, Klaus’s cult antics were charming and often hysterical.
Baby Pogo- That’s it. He was adorable and you know it.
Lila- The newest character to The Umbrella Academy may also be the best. Lila played most excellently by Ritu Arya, might have hands down stole the show. The daughter of The Handler, Lila was a complex character with an extreme likability that might have brought about the season’s biggest twist (more on that in a bit). At times extremely badass other times emotionally vulnerable but overall awesome. I want more Lila. Arya was electric in just about every scene and her chemistry with David Castaneda was beyond charming. With her ending a bit open-ended, one has to wonder what a third season has in store for her. As long as she’s there though, I’m all in.
Music Selection- I’m not entirely sure who is in charge of the music selection in The Umbrella Academy but I would like to meet them and celebrate their awesome! It seems that at every turn the show delivers the perfect song. Whether it’s an acoustic cover of Gnarls Barkely’s “Crazy” or a Swedish cover of Adele’s “Hello”, time and time again this show chooses the best music. And if you want to listen to it you can go to Spotify as Netflix has an official playlist for both seasons one and two. You need it in your life.
Allison, Klaus, and Vanya Dance Party- Speaking of music, The Umbrella Academy delivers solid dance numbers. Whether it’s the whole family dancing to “I Think We’re Alone Now” or Allison and Luther’s dance in the park, the dance number has kind of become an Umbrella Academy staple. Season two delivered another wonderful dance sequence with Allison, Klaus, and Vanya. Three characters who did not spend a great deal of time together in season one but managed to become a tight little unit in season two. The dancing in the beauty shop is just lovely as these family members kind of learn who they are, possibly for the first time. That, and it’s always fun seeing characters dance.
Diego- Diego, and David Castaneda especially, had an excellent season. Some of my favorite emotional beats of season two had Diego at the forefront. I can’t stop thinking about him stuttering during the dinner reunion. The emotion in that scene… it broke me. But most of all Diego really transforms this season. Going from a loner to someone who is relying on his family and understands he doesn’t have to do it alone. His relationship with Luther changes and matures. He accepts his family and the fact that they’re different and how that doesn’t make them enemies. There’s a reason why Diego gives the big speech during the final battle. It encompasses his growth and he’s the perfect character to deliver on that emotion. Castaneda’s performance is so good that I couldn’t help but see Diego as one of my favorite characters in the series. Team Zero allllll the way.
Dinner Reunion With Reginald Hargreeves- What a fantastic scene! We never got to see the family as adults with Reginald, and this dinner reunion cashed in on a lot of the emotional beats of season one. We already knew that Reginald has some sort of disdain for his “children” but it’s so evident here that he’s disappointed in what they’ve become and the part he played in it. And while it’s devastating seeing him verbally undress Diego and awesome to see Luther stand up for himself, this dinner is the catalyst that ultimately brings the family together. Plus, the elevator scene is hilarious.
Reginald’s An Alien- Remember in season one when Reginald is on screen and all those rocket ships take off in the background? Season two gives us the confirmation that he is in fact an alien. Is he the Roswell alien? Probably not because we see him come to America in season one but the reveal opens up a lot of questions while answering others. No wonder he was so advanced. Dude was using alien technology!
Ben’s Goodbye- I loved that it was Ben who saves Vanya. Outside of his reunion with Diego, Ben was never given the opportunity to interact with the rest of the family. His saying “I’ve missed you all so much” was a heartbreaking moment within the season but seeing him step up here and sacrifice his afterlife was beyond touching. Ben, due to being a ghost, is just as much an outcast as Vanya, and having him talk her down while giving up his life was a beautiful scene that hit all the feels. Asking Vanya for a hug as he vanished triggered all the tears and validated Ben as more than Klaus’s ghost sidekick.
Vanya- Talk about character transformations. Vanya spent the majority of season one being a manipulated character who had no control over her destiny. Season two’s mind wipe really allowed Vanya to step into her own. To choose her own destiny while shedding the emotional baggage from being the Umbrella Academy outcast and actually connecting with her family. Ellen Page was excellent as Vanya not only gained control of her powers but her emotions. Vanya’s transformation was one of my favorite aspects of this season and while she’ll always be “the bomb” she was given an opportunity to accept who she was and not sub come to her supposed destiny. Vanya was badass all season and more than earned her spot on Team Zero.
Five- If you put a gun to my head, I suppose Five might be my favorite character. I mean, he’s kind of the spoke the entire wheel spins on. Not to mention Aidan Gallagher is simply phenomenal. Just watching him interact with the rest of the family usually results in comedic gold but I have to say it was either his wiping out of The Board or his fourth wall breaking seven stages of Paradox Psychosis that killed me the most this season. I love Five. I’m not ashamed. Give me a Commission era Five spinoff and I’d be pretty happy.
Everyone Getting Into Vanya’s Car- After spending all of last season living on the sidelines of the Umbrella Academy, Vanya gives a big speech asking for her family’s help and after a season of growth and connection… they turn her down. And as Vanya is about to drive off to face this world-ending issue on her own, Klaus gets in the car. Then Alison and Diego and Five and finally Luther. It’s a beautiful moment for the family. This time they come together because of Vanya needing help opposed to trying to stop her from destroying the world. Cue the waterworks, please.
The Final Battle- Man, talk about nailing that ending. That battle on the farm was incredible and gave everyone a moment to shine. Plus we got the huge reveal that Lila has mirroring powers as she was one of the forty-three children born on that fateful day in October. What?! Throw in that surprise moment when The Handler arrives and how Five saves the day. Hell yeah! That’s how you bring a season to an end!
The Other Children- I love, love, love that the show touched on the fact that there are still other children out there that Reginald did not buy. Who are these other children? How do they factor into the future of the series, especially that ending? How many of them have powers? An excellent door to kick open and leave hanging heading into a possible third season.
The Sparrow Academy- Ummm, I’m sorry, what now?! The Sparrow Academy?! Led by a very much alive Ben?! Who are those other members?! Are they other children from the forty-three that were born? Was Reginald so displeased with how the Umbrella Academy turned out that he bought a whole group of different children or are those mirror images of the family we know now? I need answers. I need all the answers. But most of all I need…
Season Three- Come on Netflix, just announce it already. I can’t live like this!
There you have it Geeklings, all my favorite beats from the second season of The Umbrella Academy. What were some of your favorite moments? Sound off in the comments or throw me a line on Twitter @iamgeek32 to let me know. All I want to do is talk The Umbrella Academy’s so let’s talk this out. And then maybe let’s start a rewatch? Anyone down?